With everyone adjusting to the new normal during the Coronavirus Pandemic whether it’s an actual lockdown or a complete 180 in everyone’s daily life the adjustment has been a difficult one. The constant inundated updates of bad news can take a toll on one’s psyche. An individuals mood and out-look can be grim during these uncertain times.
Enter a new immersive romance audio experience founded by Naomi Shah, aptly called Meet Cute. Meet Cute produces short, original, scripted rom-coms that take a listener from Meet Cute to Happily Ever After in 15 minutes. Lovers of the rom-com genre can easily devour the off-the-cuff nature as Meet Cute publishes a new story with all 5 chapters every week.
Millennial Magazine sat down with Naomi Shah to discuss the genesis of Meet Cute, where the rom-com genre is going and how these easy to digest stories can bring levity in uncertain times.
Describe a breakthrough moment in your career
The day we launched our first podcast, I was up at 4 in the morning because I was nervous. Even though I hadn’t written it or produced the story, I was nervous about putting content out there for people, and it was vulnerable in a way I hadn’t experienced work to be before. That’s the moment when I felt like I was working on something I felt ownership over, that I cared about, and that mattered.
How does being immersed in romance alter your subconscious.
My favorite part about rom coms is that they take you on the emotional roller coaster of human connection, from awkward and cringe-y interactions, to wistful missed connections, and even intense family situations or sickness, and yet they always serve you a Happily Ever After at the end. We watch rom coms for their ability to make us feel all the emotions, and walk away feeling positive and hopeful.
The podcast space is rapidly evolving, what is your objective goal for Meet Cute on both a business and consumer side?
The mission statement of Meet Cute is “hope for the whole world”. The objective goal is to consistently deliver on this brand promise through our short, fictional stories for listeners. When people get up in the morning, I want them to look forward to listening to stories about people meeting and falling in love, delivered in fifteen minutes so it can fit anywhere in their day. On the business side, the North Star is the same, but we are testing a unique format and applying constraints such as five, three-minute chapters, audio only, and a very specific genre wedge.
The idea here is that ‘constraints breeds creativity’ and Meet Cute will be uniquely positioned to tackle more diversity in stories, complex characters, interwoven plots, and emotional connection in fifteen minutes.
What future do you see the romance audio related programming having?
Last year, I read a NY Times article about where rom coms went; you think about all the classics like The Proposal and How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days and most of them came out pre-2010. But, Netflix’s rom com section is constantly putting out more original Netflix movies, like Always Be My Maybe and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and the fiction romance industry is worth about $1 billion dollars – books, e-books, films, etc. so there is a signal from the market that there is an appetite for more.
The classic rom-com storyline, listeners can relax into the plot and characters because they don’t have to worry about the characters not ending up together, or someone dying. I think that this will make Meet Cute rom-coms the burst of fiction and hope that people crave every day
Given the over saturation of negative stories in the 24 hour news cycle what role do you think Meet Cute can play in diverting consumers away from the negative?
Right now feels like an important moment to be building a company like Meet Cute and to be putting stories about love, happiness, and positivity in people’s podcast feeds. Human connection never gets old because it’s relatable and personal – i.e. it happens to everyone. We think of Meet Cute as a counterbalance to the uncertainty in the news and the negative headlines we’re constantly scrolling through on our phones. In writing the mission statement, a big driving question was how Meet Cute can broaden access to wellbeing, via fictional audio content served in small bites.
What’s the one takeaway you want listeners to have after hearing a Meet Cute story?
‘Wow, that made my day!’ …finds next Meet Cute story to listen to.
The romantic genre has a generic formula to it, how do you manage to keep Meet Cute stories fresh?
It’s interesting because the rom-com storyline itself is not innovative and counterintuitively, that enables the freshness. Every rom-com starts with a Meet Cute, has some conflict, a journey of the two protagonists, a resolution, and finally a Happily Ever After or Happy For Now. Part of the magic of Meet Cute is that while the storyline of a rom com isn’t innovative, those constraints create endless room for experimentation in tone, narrative structure, setting, and character diversity (in fact, we just got a script about two dogs falling in love at a park!). We like to say “constraints breed creativity” and the diversity of scripts coming in from our writers as well as on the production side has shown that there is no limit to the freshness within this format.
Be sure to check out “Meet Cute” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify & other podcast platforms in the search directory.